Divorces involving children or high assets are very rarely done and over with once the judge signs off on the agreement. Instead, couples tend to continue to hash things out as circumstances change and realities set in for both of them.
One way a spouse may challenge a judge’s divorce orders is by appeal. In filing an appeal, both parties are required to submit an appellate brief. For the spouse that has raised the appeal, this document should highlight precisely how the law was inappropriately applied when the judge initially rendered the original divorce decree. The responsibility of the other spouse is to argue that the appropriate rule of law was indeed followed.
Depending on how solid the arguments presented are, each party may be given time to present their case in what is referred to as an oral argument in front of the appeals judge. This rarely happens, though, as it’s fairly uncommon for an appeals judge to look to overturn a divorce court ruling. If he or she does, then few opportunities exist to further appeal a case.
If the spouses both mutually agreed to the divorce settlement, an appeal is unlikely to be heard in the first place. In cases like this, the former spouses will be required to pursue a divorce modification instead.
A motion to modify is filed with the same judge that presided over your divorce case. Some of the more common reasons divorce modifications are sought out are over child support, visitation, custody or spousal support.
If a primary custodial parent of the children has been arrested on a drug possession charge, the other parent may seek a modification to the custody agreement. In another case, a spouse may been ordered to pay a certain monthly alimony payment yet has lost his job and is unable to do so. In each of these instances, a modification may be granted.
In the case of appeals, there is a small window of time after a divorce decision is reached to file one. Although there are no restriction as to time in terms of when a modification can be filed, there are limits as to how many requests can be made within a certain time period.
In learning more about your case, a Houston divorce attorney can advise you as to whether an appeal or modification is most appropriate in your particular situation.
Source: FindLaw, “Appeals and motions to modify the divorce judgment,” accessed June 06, 2017